The very sound of the word carries a promise of peace, of refreshing.
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."
"Be still and know that I am God."
"Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people."
1 Kings 8:56
The Bible is filled with references to rest, times of quiet. The Lord rested on the seventh day and established the Sabbath. He ordered seasons of rest for the land. His cycles always include both activity and calm.
One of the cycles, though, for which I am most thankful is simply nighttime. God could, I suppose, have created a world in which day ran endlessly. There might be a world of never-ending sun. Such a place would hold no appeal for me, at least not in this life.
At the end of a long day, full of hard work and difficulty, God gives us the blessing of rest- sleep. And in that time of respite, we can find the strength we need to get up and face another day.
Now, I'm not quite sure how much sleep we really need. I certainly can't claim to get the requisite eight hours each night. (Who came up with that number? I could google it, but I won't.) I haven't had an uninterrupted night of sleep in a very long time. (Such is the reality of motherhood.)
I still appreciate the sleep that I do get, even if it might be a couple of three hour stretches. There is a brilliance in God's simple plan of "evening and morning." Each night of sleep carries the promise of a new day- a fresh start.
I would guess that most of us appreciate sleep and rest. So why is it that we are so often sleep-deprived? What keeps us from just...well, going to bed at night?
Worry keeps many awake. Stressful days can be difficult to put behind us. Perhaps we've drained our minds to the point of exhaustion but our sedentary lifestyles haven't worn out our bodies.
Or, maybe it's those TV reruns and Facebook. Zoning out with technology isn't the same as seeking calm at the end of the day.
And, we might just be busy. Too busy. I've never been one to stay up till two in the morning finishing a project. I've always felt that depriving myself of sleep cuts down my overall productivity so much that what little time I may have gained is lost in the end anyway. And it makes me grouchy. It's awfully hard to be a patient mom (or a patient anything else) if I'm tired.
So, I enjoy seeing the cycle of light and dark as God's divine directive. As the sun sets and the darkness takes over, the Lord is saying, "Come to Me, all you who are weary...and I will give you rest." And then, casting all my cares upon Him, I take advantage of the blessing of sleep.
"For [the Lord] grants sleep
to the ones He loves."